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Tuesday Baking, Birds, and Other Things

I am a little tired this morning. It’s my own fault, though. I discovered a documentary on Hulu last night on Margaret Atwood. I knew it was too late to start it, but reason does not always prevail in my world these days. I admire her as both a writer and an activist. Her power of keen observation and the way she applies that observation to her work is something I must be careful not to envy too much. I guess we must all have that one author that pulls us in.

Speaking of authors and writing, I logged onto my library account last night and put two ebooks on hold: Becoming by Michelle Obama and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. One I plan to read with my friend Lauren as an ‘online book club’ and one was recommended by my friend Molly. I have not done much reading during this pandemic so it will be nice to settle in and read some.

When I woke this morning I was excited to see an email from King Arthur Flour. My flour finally shipped! I have 5 pounds of all purpose white and 5 lbs of all purpose wheat flour on the way! I managed to buy SAF instant-yeast from an online store – Waffle Pantry. So, I once again feel comfortable about baking some bread.

Yesterday I made a single 9” layer cake. You may remember I wanted to try and recreate a cake my grandmother used to make. She made a one-egg cake with a black walnut and brown sugar glaze. I was able to find a couple of recipes online I felt like trying and I must say, it turned out pretty darn close! The cake is unbelievably moist and the taste of the black walnuts took me back to my childhood. It is amazing what memories our senses can trigger. Black walnuts have a very distinct and earthy taste — they truly are one of the tastes that whisk me back to another place and time.

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These are the recipes I used if you want to try either of them for yourself:

Easy One Bowl Yellow Cake
Broiled Nut Icing

Let’s talk AirPods. I love using them if we ever need to go out because it reduces my need to touch my phone. Siri will read me my text messages and send me text messages and even make calls for me, all with my phone in my purse. Last week I opened the case and dropped one on the floor. It bounced, then disappeared. I was so confused. Well, I got down on my knees in the kitchen and discovered there was a space under the cabinets on the back of our kitchen island. Frustrated, I told hubby, then proceeded on to the post office. When I came back, hubby was able to get his hand into the space and had the AirPod in his hand but then it slipped out of his hand and he heard it hit the floor — under the island behind the toe kick. 🙄 It is now unreachable unless we do some deconstruction in the kitchen.

The hummingbirds are definitely back, although I have only seen one or two males so far. We have two pair of Rose Breasted Grosbeaks that frequent the feeders every day. They are here during their migration but we do not typically see them stay around all summer long. They are a little aggressive at the feeder, happily lingering there and chasing other birds off. The bluebirds are also here every day. The Bluejays also make their presence known.

I have been pulling all my art supplies out of the nooks and crannies in which they have been stored. I have large pads full of gesture drawings from old Life Drawing classes which I am finally going to throw away. There are a few drawings that I will keep, but most are charcoal and do not fare very well after years of storage.

That’s about it for me. I will leave you with a little Moody Blues on this Tuesday. Enjoy!

 

birds, Blog, Family, friends, Home, loss, memories

Sometimes There is Heartache

Day 7

When I think of home the memories, thoughts and ideas are so pleasant. But there are also struggles – and loss. When you love deeply and honestly, witnessing the struggle and the loss can be the most difficult part of life. But we do move on.

This week has been precarious for me. My daughter-in-law’s brother has been going through life-threatening surgery and treatment and we have been in prayer mode for two weeks.

My niece has been back and forth to the doctors for months and watching her search to find answers is also heartbreaking.

One of my very dear friends and I talked off and on one day as we worked on trying to find balance and understanding in some difficult circumstances. The warmth, comfort and stability of a friendship is an important part of feeling at home. An outside person you can speak openly and honestly with is a critical part of having balance in our lives.

Keeping strong when someone you care about is struggling is not easy. We want balance. We want comfort. It helps us feel at home and at peace to know our loved ones are okay.

And Then There Was Michael

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida yesterday. The devastation is horrible to see. I can honestly say I hate hurricanes. I have been through more of these storms than I care to remember and have worried with friends and loved ones through even more. It is the most helpless feeling to have someone you love in harm’s way and be powerless to do anything about it.

weather - 1It will be days before we know the full impact of the storm, just as it was days before we knew the impact of Hurricane Florence. We received a lot of rain – almost 10 inches in two days – but have only had minor wind gusts. Slowly we hear from people and our mind is at rest, but not fully. Not until everyone is accounted for.

My heart breaks for those that have or will have lost loved ones in this storm.

As much as home is in our hearts, it is also the physical place where we live. So many homes lost. Lifetimes of belongings, mementos and memories washed away or blown away in the storm. Such an experience changes the ability to feel safe in your own home. I cannot imagine I would ever feel the same about my home being my safe haven after such loss.

I Never Imagined Life Without You

Last night I received devastating news about a dear family friend who passed away. We were not close in recent times, but at one time we were very close. The loss to this family hit twice in only a few days and I cannot imagine how hard that must be.

There are some people you can NEVER imagine will one day no longer be here. This loss hit me in exactly this way. I woke up off and on all night, listening to the rain pounding against the roof and thinking about the fact this dear sweet soul was gone. I am not sure how to come to terms with this.

Loss like this is multiplied when you think about the people you would call to talk through such things. My go-to people to process feelings like this are disappearing from my life. I talked to my brother and my daughter, but after those two, the people I would have called that knew and understood the loss are no longer here for me to call. That is a tough pill to swallow. Balance is lost and it can be a struggle to regain.

IMG_7084Today I wish you a sense of stability in the place you call home. If you have experienced loss, I send you warm thoughts. Life has a funny way of re-correcting and finding balance even after the most catastrophic or devastating news.

The birds are back at the feeder and the Rose Breasted Grosbeaks will soon leave to continue their migration south.

Everyone is headed home.

“I see now how things even up, how they are squared away,
and how they balance under the law of love and justice.
No year of life is emotionally, spiritually or even materially,
all drought or all rainfall; nor is it all sun.
The road turns a little every day, and one day there’s a sudden twist
we didn’t dream was there, and for every loss there is somewhere a gain,
for every grief a happiness, for every deprivation a giving.” 

Faith Baldwin